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Published on February 21, 2008

KCH Hosts SANE Program

February 21, 2008


Kishwaukee Community Hospital recently hosted the Illinois Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program in its Doug and Lynn Roberts Conference Center. The SANE program teaches registered nurses to provide specialized, comprehensive care to sexual assault patients. Upon completing a 40-hour classroom component and a 40-hour clinical component, a SANE is prepared to perform a thorough forensic exam of the patient, which includes a head-to-toe physical exam indicating all signs of trauma and the Illinois State Police Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit.

Four nurses from the KishHealth System attended this program.

The Illinois SANE program was developed by the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, in partnership with the Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault. In 2005, Illinois had 266 SANE participants statewide.

SANE programs began operating independently in the 1970’s by nurses who were concerned about the quality of care sexual assault patients were receiving. In 1992, nurses throughout the country formed the International Association of Forensic Nurses, and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners became a sub-specialty of forensic nursing.

As result of this program, Kishwauke Community Hospital now has three SANE-educated nurses and Valley West Community Hospital in Sandwich has two. Cindy Graves, Director of Emergency Services for the KishHealth System, saw a need to have more SANE-qualified nurses, and she also had nurses in her department who wanted to attend. She contacted the Illinois Attorney General’s office and offered to host the program at KCH, explaining to the coordinators that a program in the DeKalb area would be well-attended. As it turned out, participants came from the Chicago suburbs and the Rockford area. The class also had a waiting list.

Our nurses are trained on-the-job in treating sexual assault patients, but the SANE program includes a clinical rotation after the classroom, which is extremely beneficial,” says Graves.

Illinois SANE program hopes to increase the number of SANEs working in the state. According to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, research shows that the SANE training improves the quality of evidence collected from the patient, which increases prosecution rates. Additionally, a SANE-qualified nurse can provide the type of compassionate care that reduces re-traumatization of the patient. A SANE is also able to testify as an expert witness when cases go to trial.

Julie Garner-Teno, RN, BSN, Coordinator for the Illinois SANE program, says the Illinois Attorney General’s Office is very thankful that KCH was so instrumental in bringing this program to DeKalb.

It's very important to keep our nurses informed on Illinois law regarding sexual assault,” says Garner-Teno. “Laws can change so often and we need to make sure our nurses don’t fall on the slippery slope. That’s why this SANE training is so important.”

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